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Coyote that attacked Vermont couple positive for rabies

April 3, 2019

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A coyote that attacked a Salisbury couple outside their home tested positive for rabies, Vermont’s top Fish and Wildlife official said Wednesday.

Priscilla Gilman, 76, said Wednesday that she and her husband had just fed their horse and barn cat on Monday when the coyote started lunging at them as they headed back to their Addison County house. She said she was bit several times while her husband, George Gilman, was scratched.

“We see them out in the fields and they turn and run because they are afraid of us,” said Priscilla Gilman. “Not this one. He was out his mind.”

George Gilman, 79, shot and killed the coyote with a shotgun. Both Gilmans are now receiving a series of shots to prevent rabies, according to Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter.

Senior Game Warden Dale Whitlock sent the carcass for testing. The Vermont Health Department confirmed Wednesday that the coyote was rabid.

Porter said that coyote attacks on humans are rare, but not unknown. He cited a handful of cases in the past 30 years, but none of those animals were known to have been infected with rabies.

Whitlock said the coyote carcass smelled of skunk and it’s likely that’s how the animal contracted the rabies virus.

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